Thursday, December 7, 2006

Ken-Jonson Cafeteria, late 1960s



Located in Barracks Road Shopping Center, this place billed itself as "The South's most modern Cafeteria." If you ever ate there, is that how you remember it?

11 comments:

Kevin Cox said...

I ate there many times with my parents and I even worked there busing tables when I was 16. It was very popular because the food was good and it wasn't too costly. Like a lot of people I was sad to see it go.
Kevin Cox

TL Patten said...

Eating at the Ken Jonson was the big lunch treat my parents indulged in the middle of a long day of Christmas shopping. I remember their mac & cheese was especially good because it reminded me of Grandma's. (I was a kid; I didn't have refined tastes back then.)

Kempis said...

I miss the Ken Johnson Cafeteria, the food was good and there was always a variety. My mother used to take my sister and I there every so often for an early dinner and I could never pass up the "spoon bread."

PH said...

That's a great photo of KJ's cafeteria. We ate there regularly on thursday nights in the late 1970s when I was a kid. It was particularly cool because some of the UVa basketball players would eat there; I think they had some kind of meal plan for them. I remember the fried chicken and the guy who carved the roast beef who always wore an elegant chef's hat!

Neal and Jackie said...

Blast from the past!!
For the record, Ken Jonson Cafeteria was our family business!! I was married in 1963(Alexandria, Va.) and my dad, Hubert Leonard Johnston (Bert), invited me down to work in his new cafeteria in Charlottesville. That was June 1963. He borrowed money from a Mr. Kenny, who lived in Roanoke, to open it. For some unknown reason they named it Ken Jonson. My guess it was a compromise so it would have both their names.

My dad had been a Regional Manager for Morrison's Cafeterias his entire career. He brought the best employees with him to staff the new cafeteria. He was VERY proud of his Mac & Cheese and had a secret recipe for making it. Spoon Bread was another feature. For some reason, I can remember prices in 1963: Salad was .15, pie was .10 (cream pie .15), all entries .69 except for carved beef .79, bread .05, all drinks .10.

Everything was made on site including Ketchup, mayo, mustard, bread and pies. All veggies were fresh. We got a RADAR RANGE (Microwave oven) one day and tried it out. Dad didn't like it so it was put on a shelf and never used!!

I left Ken Jonson and Charlottesville after about 3 years. My father sold his interest due to health issues in 1969 to Ralph Mustard who owned the Kenny Burger franchise in Charlottesville and Waynesboro. I lost contact with Ken Jonson since my dad moved to West Palm Beach, Florida. He died there in 1974.

I could share many more stories if anyone is interested. I would like to see a current picture of what is in that space and would like to know when Ken Johnson finally closed up.

Thanks for the memories.....

Neal Johnston

David said...

Does anyone know if Ralph Mustard is still living? I used to work for him at both Caravan and KennyBurger, way back in the day.

Ken G.
dmac82948@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

My Dad was the manager there from the late '60's until it closed...many fond memories of visits to see Dad at work and samples from the kitchen...

Anonymous said...

My folks would take me there when I had to go into the UVa Hospital for surgery as a child; it was a special treat. Silver rolled in cloth napkins and a waiter to help you with your tray if you had trouble; and the food was great! We children often had "eyes bigger than our appetites."

Anonymous said...

Ate there many times. Such delicious spaghetti and yeast rolls!

Anonymous said...

Mom would take me to Ken Johnson's during the summer in the 1980s because we could sit and relax over a great meal in the air conditioning! We rotated through many favorites: loved tossed salad with thousand island dressing, the spaghetti with meat sauce, fried chicken with cranberry sauce on the side, roast beef and au jus carved by the charming gentleman in the chef's hat, mashed potatoes with gravy and yes... the amaxing yeast rolls with a pat of real butter! As a kid I loved getting the ketchup from a hidden shelf at the end of the row of booths in the middle of the dining room. I'm sure the waitstaff loved me! And when ready to leave, mom always gave me a nickle for chicklets from the gum machine near the coat room. Man.. I miss it so much. They don't make em like that anymore.

Anonymous said...

Amazing! I was running thru Google for some old memories of my childhood living in Cville in the late 1960's. I could not remember the names of the two cafeaterias at Barracks Road Shopping Center that my family would goto for lunch after services on Sunday afternoons. Great to read the other posts from visitors during this time. What great memories I have of lunches here. (The roast beef carving station was always on my list!).